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DDR For AMD: 16 Boards With VIA KT266

Summary: MSI And Soltek Are The Fastest

This highly comprehensive test at our lab spanned a period of almost two weeks and shows us the following: For users who are looking for a fast but stable board, we recommend the MSI (MS-6380) and Soltek (SL-75DRV). The Asus A7V266 isn't a bad choice either - by already supporting the AMD Athlon with the Palomino core, it is well equipped for upcoming technology. However, the Asus A7V266 only achieves its solid performance because it has a higher factory-set clock rate than its rivals.

MSI has really come a long way compared with previous tests: With its innovative features and numerous add-ons, the MS-6380 stands out brightly in the test field. The Siemens D1279 also deserves word: This manufacturer, based in Augsburg, Germany, and the German icon in the business sector as well, traditionally dedicates itself to maximum system stability. Amongst all the test boards we received, the D1279 is the most up to date with regards to production. Siemens uses the fewest of components while offering the highest manufacturing quality. Why the board runs with the brake on still baffles us. The solution here is undoubtedly a customized version of BIOS. We were somewhat surprised by the Aopen AK77 Plus, which stopped running at regular intervals. We have never encountered such problems with this manufacturer in the past.

Only Average: The KT266 Compared With The Competition

Generally speaking, we can say the following about the VIA KT266 chipset: In the coming weeks, in will be appearing with increasing frequency on motherboards in the market. In a direct comparison with competitors such as AMD, ALi and SiS (who also offer chipsets with DDR support for AMD Athlon/Duron), the VIA KT266 only cuts an average figure. This is shown quite clearly in our benchmarks, which include the results of the competitors as a comparison. In virtually all of the benchmarks, the KT266 is unable to match the performance of the SiS 735, which is still the fastest chipset to date for the AMD platform. Maybe this will change if nForce lives up to expectation. But so far so good - the VIA KT266 is designed for the mass market and, when used in conjunction with DDR-SDRAM, gets a decent performance out of the AMD Athlon/Duron. The fact that it is not possible to use conventional SDRAM almost goes without saying. Anyone toying with the idea of buying a combined solution consisting of slots for SDRAM and DDR-SDRAM should quickly put such thoughts asides. This would mean that the user might as well stick to his "old" board with the VIA KT133A chipset, as this is at least as equally as fast as the KT266 in conjunction with SDRAM memory.

To Conclude: What Does The Near Future Have In Store?

Expect some exciting times in the near future. We're looking at the nForce chipset, but our analysis of all DDR chipsets is far from over. There's a lot going on in the market, and we have plenty of new material for you in the coming months. This is just the beginning.